Stressful Streets: Concert Hall Approach

Although I adore London and love my job, life as a London cabbie can often be deeply frustrating and truly exasperating– usually thanks in no small part to the design and configuration of certain roads, junctions and systems within the capital’s sprawl.

traffic signals

This occasional new category within my blog will aim to highlight some of the London’s most punishing offenders.

And please forgive me if I appear to be moaning. This is simply a way of venting stress before my heart conks out…

Screaming Wolf

* * *

Concert Hall Approach

Concert Hall Approach Signage

Concert Hall Approach, SE1

As a cabbie you’ll often find passengers flagging you down outside the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall– it is one of London’s major cultural venues after all.

The Royal Festival Hall (image: Google)

The Royal Festival Hall (image: Google)

And in many cases those passengers will ask for a destination north of the Thames- which is fair enough; Waterloo Bridge looms close by and looks like an easy hop.

Peer at any map and you’ll see that Concert Hall Approach appears to offer the best route; a quick left turn out and you’re on the bridge.

Location of Concert Hall Approach (AZ imaging)

Location of Concert Hall Approach (AZ imaging)

Only it’s never, ever a quick left turn because the traffic lights at the end of Concert Hall Approach are ferociously timed.

Looking along Concert Hall Approach...

Looking along Concert Hall Approach…

When they’re on a red signal– which they always are- you may as well reach for a copy of War and Peace; you’ll find time to polish off several chapters. I’ve been known to sprout stubble whilst waiting at this light.

If you happen to find yourself stuck behind another unfortunate whilst waiting for Concert Hall Approach’s lights to change, nine times out of ten that driver will decide that the lights are not working and will inevitably nudge their vehicle through the red light.

Dangerous yes, but understandable if you’ve never experienced the phasing before. It’s that bad. And the only way to work around it? Drive under the bridge and tackle the IMAX roundabout- which also has lights to contend with. 

Concert Hall Approach. The traffic lights that time forgot.

The offending lights...

The offending lights…


15 responses

  1. Ah yes, i remember it well!

  2. It seems to me that the people who design these systems have never once had to drive round London. Hideous, particularly the South Bank.

  3. Excellent. A top 10 worst lights list would also include the Battleship building lights to get back on Harrow road. Last time I was at them the gov changed twice before they went green!

    1. I’ve got lots in the pipeline for this, Damian! Any suggestions will be most welcome….let’s vent 🙂

  4. The 8 seconds at green when exiting Admiralty Arch towards Trafalgar Square are interesting when a tourist decides to jaywalk instead of crossing during the 3 minutes when the lights remain resolutely at red for traffic.

    1. Completely with you, David. The Admiralty Arch/Trafalgar Square tangle is already pencilled in for a future post… be lucky 😉

  5. Hi Rob, Got a really good chuckle, with this sign, amazing you can stay sane. I wonder how many people have to take Valium before even thinking about driving through London these days? Babs

    1. Thanks, Babs 🙂 Valium sounds like a good idea; don’t tempt me! Hope you’re all well and keep up the painting- your recent works are wonderful.

  6. Hi Rob,

    I noticed you have many photo’s, is there any chance of sending a few street scenes of London streets for Stuart at the moment he is painting that sort of thing, will send his latest so you can see what I’m talking about day or night or night shots. Thank you so much. love Babs

    1. Hi Babs, I would be delighted to send Stuart some photos- are they any here in particular you’d like or would you prefer a few random pics? Please let me know and I’ll send them asap. Still waiting for Stuart to pop over to London for a visit… would have a great time showing him around London’s galleries. Try and persuade him 🙂

  7. […] you on The Knowledge: which streets are the most stressful. Find out from a man in the know blogger View From The Mirror. Photo by Sean Batten from the Londonist Flickr […]

  8. […] you on The Knowledge: which streets are the most stressful. Find out from a man in the know blogger View From The Mirror. Photo by Sean Batten from the Londonist Flickr […]

  9. | Reply

    Good Morning Rob,

    Your Stressful Streets is enlightening – hope you will do more, there must be plenty!!??

    much love xx

    1. Thank you so much, Jo… there are indeed plenty to write about. And I fear the list will only grow longer! xx

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